Tom Gregory discusses new role
Trading in his Chief Deputy District Attorney badge for a judge’s robe, Thomas Wayne Gregory will take the bench in the Ninth Judicial District Court starting April 13.
Gov. Brian Sandoval selected Gregory to replace Michael Gibbons who was chosen to serve on the first Nevada Court of Appeals.
“I’m a very patriotic person. I love our country. I’m a native Nevadan so I love Nevada. I was a Douglas High graduate so I bleed orange and black,” Gregory said. “It is neat to know someone could go through the school system and end up being a district judge. It means a lot to me.”
The Genoa resident was selected by the governor following interviews with the three finalists who were recommended by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection.
Gregory looks forward to seeing the courtroom from the bench instead of the prosecutor’s table.
“Having been a prosecutor and a defense attorney I feel I understand the role of a judge,” he said. “There are different roles in a courtroom and each is so important. The prosecutor is very different than the judge. I have a lot to learn, but I am going to work very hard to learn that role.”
After graduating from the McGregor School of Law in 1994, Gregory began his law career as a law clerk for the same court he will now preside over as judge.
As well as running his own law practice, he has served several Nevada counties as district attorney.
His experience on both sides of the courtroom, he feels will aid him in his new position.
“Having been a trial attorney will help me greatly,” Gregory said. “Just knowing how a trial works and how evidence should be treated and how to deal with juries will be of great benefit. I’ve learned a lot from the judges that I’ve appeared in front of in Northern Nevada. Hopefully I can take all that I’ve learned and put that into place.”
Shifting from a prosecutor, presenting his case, to a judge who makes the final decision in a case will take some adjustment Gregory said.
“It’s important, if not critical, that a judge not be another attorney in the room,” he explained. “A judge is not supposed to be an advocate. A judge should allow the attorneys to be the advocate for those they are representing. My job is to be neutral, listen to both sides and make an informed decision. I hope to have a courtroom where people feel comfortable to come into and know they will be heard.”
Armed with passions for problem solving and learning, Gregory looks forward to expanding his knowledge of law.
“Most of my career has been centered around criminal law. A large number of cases on our dockets involve civil and family law,” he said. “I’m very excited to stretch my mind into that realm. I enjoy learning new things and I look forward to learning that side.”
Cases that Gregory had a substantial involvement in will be transferred to Judge Tod Young’s court to adhere to the judicial cannons, or ethical rules judges must abide by.
He will spend the remainder of his time as Chief Deputy District Attorney shifting the cases he was involved in to the other deputy district attorneys.
“We have a great, great office. They will do fine,” Gregory said of the transition. “I am going to do anything I can to make that transition easy for them.”
Gregory will swear in the same week that he takes the stand in a formal investiture.
“I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to serve my hometown at capacity of judge,” Gregory said. “I am very humbled. There were so many good applicants, I am humbled to be the one the governor selected.”